blood samples

FDA-Approved Blood Test to Diagnose Concussions

In early February, the FDA approved a blood test designed to diagnose concussions in people more quickly than a computed tomography (CT) scan. The Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator is expected to reduce the number of people exposed to radiation by determining through the blood test if a supporting CT scan is needed. This blood test for concussions aligns with the FDA’s Initiative to Reduce Unnecessary Radiation Exposure from Medical Imaging.

How Does it Work?

The Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator measures the levels of proteins ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in the blood. Within 12 hours of a blow to the head, the brain releases these proteins into the bloodstream. By using the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator, doctors may more accurately predict which patients may have intracranial lesions. When this concussion blood test was evaluated, it predicted the presence of intracranial lesions on a CT scan 97.5 percent of the time and those with no intracranial lesions on a CT scan 99.6 percent of the time. Within three to four hours, patients can know the results of the blood test.

How it Helps

Currently, a patient with a suspected head injury will undergo a 15-point Glasgow Coma Scale, which measures motor, verbal, and eye-opening responses in patients. Afterward, they have a CT scan that will determine intracranial lesions that could need treatment. However, CT scans cannot detect all intracranial lesions and expose patients to radiation. This blood test for concussions is expected to detect damaged brain tissue that CT scans miss while also preventing unnecessary CT scans by identifying those patients in whom no intracranial lesions are present. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. says, “a blood-testing option for the evaluation of mTBI/concussion not only provides health care professionals with a new tool but also sets the stage for a more modernized standard of care for testing of suspected cases.” It could also reduce the cost of unnecessary neuroimaging tests to health care systems.

The Dangers of Concussions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states there were approximately 2.8 million brain trauma-related visits to the ER in 2013. Roughly 50,000 of these people died most likely because the traumatic brain injury (TBI) was not detected early enough. Having this blood test to diagnose concussions could help to reduce deaths related to traumatic brain injuries by getting patients the right test at an earlier time.

GoldenbergLaw Can Help

GoldenbergLaw has over 30 years of experience representing individuals with traumatic brain injuries. If you or a loved one has experienced or is experiencing a traumatic brain injury as a result of a motor vehicle collision, defective product or other accident, contact us.


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